NPE2018 watch (literally) and 4 more cool things from the show: Page 3 of 5

NPE KHS hologram bottle

When vendors have important breakthrough to share at a major tradeshow, they have a number of options of how to present the news, but KHS Group (Hamburg, Germany) decided to take the rarely-used holographic route. And it worked because as I scoured the show aisles for new and innovative products the display specifically got me to step into the booth to watch a projected 3D holographic video presented on a small stage inside a display cabinet.

It was a riveting and edutaining holographic infomercial of a revolutionary PET water bottle, Factor 100, in development jointly with preform-making machinery supplier Husky Injection Molding Systems (Bolton, Ontario). The name references the fact that the weight of the 500-mL bottle is a meager 5 grams. The video pointed to the amazing leafcutter ant, which can carry nearly 50x its weight, which is only half the capability of the even more amazing Factor 100 bottle.

That yields a dramatic 30% material reduction from the previous lightest weight bottle for this volume, and makes it a double win for brands and the environment, with as much a material-saving sustainability improvement as it is a cost savings.

Preform and bottle molding require extremely precise distribution of the PET with optimum stretching. KHS notes that the bottle’s grip is optimized and the sophisticated geometry was derived from virtual prototypes.

I asked the company’s product manager Arne Wiese, “Doesn’t this degree of thinwalling make it more of a pouch than a bottle?” His response:  “The bottle is actually thinner than a pouch, but the special support rings designed in the mold give it structural strength.”

That fact was as amazing as the hologram. Wiese said that the bottle and design needed to be further top-strengthened to allow the filled bottles to be stacked six high “without losing the sustainability benefits.” With major companies indicating “high interest” in the development, Wiese expects a “technical solution” to the above challenge in 2018.

Next: Breakthrough booths including the world’s first (and only) made of 100% in-mold labeling materials.

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